Gloria Monaghan’s Swallowtail | north of oxford


swallow tail


The blue butterfly emerges along the path in the dunes.

near the ground near queen anne’s lace:

polyxenes, swallowtail

whatever you call it,

she’s like the dust on your ankle in the July heat.


An early slipper moon, Venus

each present in the gaze of the other.

Years ago men wrote about the moon,

he called her Cynthia, as if she were a woman so close to his heart

held in early autumn as the eternal rhythm

midsummer when clothes fall off the body

in a kind of sad departure.


A tiny early green worm made its way

to my house, and I opened the door and let her free.



Gloria Monaghan is a professor at Wentworth University. She has published five books of poetry. Her poems have appeared in Alexandria Quarterly, NPR, Poem-a-Day, Nixes-Mate, Mom Egg Review, among others. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Award and the Massachusetts Book Award. Her book False Spring was nominated for the Griffin Award.


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